Are you interested in turning your passion into a business, but don’t know how to get it started? NS-FM would like to help you turn your food-related business into a reality and help your product get exposure in the Stafford community.
NS-FM is committed to the economic development of Stafford County and supporting local vendors. During the 2013 season, NS-FM had multiple Stafford-based, start-up businesses get their exposure at the market and boom into successful enterprises. We would like to provide incentives to Stafford County residents to open their businesses and turn their ideas and passions into a legitimate money-making business.
Vendors at NS-FM have certain requirements that they must follow to adhere to in order to operate at the farmers market. They must be an official business (able to pay sales tax), have any required state inspections, have $500k in liability insurance, and provide a product that is food-related. All items must be producer only (made by the vendor), and must be from a 125 mile radius of Stafford County. Craft items are not allowed at farmers markets in Stafford County.
NS-FM will be offering discounts on vendor fees for all new, Stafford-based businesses that qualify to operate at the farmers market. The amount of the discount will be based on each unique situation. It can be scary to start a business, and there are financial investments that have to be made at the beginning (registering your business, insurance, etc), but if you have good product, it is likely that those financial requirements will become less of a hardship as you establish your customer base and begin turning a profit.
To start your business, we would recommend that you check out the University of Maryland Small Business Development Center, located at 1125 Jefferson Davis Hwy, Suite 400, in Fredericksburg. They provide FREE business consulting services and will hand walk you through the process. This is what we used to set up NS-FM, as well as to get advice on future business endeavors.
Please feel free to contact NS-FM at NorthStaffordFM@gmail.com before and during this process if you have any questions or ideas. As a disclaimer, NS-FM does have to maintain a balance at the market to ensure the success of all of the vendors (eg not having too much of the same type of business), so please check in with us to see if your product will be a good fit at the market.
NS-FM is now accepting applications for the 2014 season. If you are interested in becoming a vendor at our farmers market, please email the Market Manager at NorthStaffordFM@gmail.com for the application, as well as a copy of the rules and regulations. Everything sold at the market must be producer-only, from within 125 miles from Stafford County, and food related. Vendors must have established businesses, with the ability to pay sales tax, and have liability insurance. We have a special initiative program for Stafford County residents who are trying to launch their small, qualifying business. If you are interested in becoming a vendor, but aren’t sure how to proceed, we can also help steer you in the right direction.
Thanks, and we look forward to the new season!
- The NS-FM Family
We will be holding our first annual holiday markets for the North Stafford Farmers Market on November 24th and December 8th! Come enjoy the festivities, while browsing holiday offerings that include: Decorations, Wreaths, Door Swags & Garland, Jams & Jellies, Assorted Cookies & Desserts, Coffees & Teas, Handmade Soaps, Handmade Wooden Bowls, Dog Treats & Fresh Breads, Local Meats & Honeys…and much more!
We will be having a FREE RAFFLE! See you there
NS-FM was proud to partner with a local preschool program on a recent activity. Stafford County Parks & Rec is starting a new program called Nature Explorers, a monthly program for preschoolers aimed at bringing a hands-on, fun appreciation for nature. This month’s class focused on apples, and they conducted apple taste tests at their activity this week. At the end of the activity, each preschooler received a certificate to come to the Market Manager tent to receive one free apple from a local vendor. What a great program, and NS-FM was happy to participate!
Here is a list of the preschool program’s upcoming activities:
Stafford County Sun: The S.E.R.V.E. organization that helps needy residents of Stafford and nearby counties is getting some help from local farmers and sellers.
The growers and retailers who set up their stands at the North Stafford Farmers Market and sell their fruits, vegetables and breads are helping others when their selling day is done.
What goods don’t sell by the end of the market day, several stands contribute to the food bank run by Stafford Emergency Relief through Volunteer Efforts.
Produce seller Larry Day owns a small, family-run farm in Summerduck and displayed a selection of produce for sale at the market held Sundays near Stafford Hospital.
His produce for sale at The Green Thumb stand included tomatoes and peppers, grown without chemicals, he pointed out.
He noted that while his selection is modest, he tries to donate to S.E.R.V.E. every week.
Six produce stands, a bakery stand and meat and poultry stands usually donate to S.E.R.V.E., whose mission is to “encourage individuals and groups to work together to alleviate local human suffering by meeting the emergency needs of individuals and families who are experiencing financial crisis, and to promote programs to help individuals to become more self sufficient.”
Jeanette Moler, of Great Harvest Bread Company in Burke and Lorton, was about to finish her day’s selling when Fred Cannon of S.E.R.V.E. strolled by her stand with several plastic bins.
She was ready for his question of how many bins she could fill with bread that afternoon. Moler said that she donates about 100 loaves a week to area organizations. When Cannon drove by the stands to pick up the donations, Molar had three bins ready to load.
“We like to give back to the community,” she said.
Tomas Ramirez got a bin and was soon filling it, with help from his sister Jessica, 9. The fruits and vegetables he sells are grown at Barajas Produce in Colonial Beach. While he contributes produce to S.E.R.V.E., the donations are split with his uncle.
“He has a restaurant, so some of the fruits and vegetables he can use,” Tomas Ramirez said.
When all the donations were in and the produce hauled to the S.E.R.V.E. building for weighing, the organization got 331 pounds of produce and bread, said Cannon, a member of the S.E.R.V.E. board, which is not paid but rather pays or volunteers to have a seat.
He was happy with Sunday’s donations, even though the previous week brought in more.
“[This way,] people who come to the pantry on Monday will get fresh vegetables,” said Cannon, a retired Marine.
On average we give a family of four about 50 pounds of staples, meat and bread, S.E.R.V.E. executive director Marilyn Stevens said.
In July, 282 Stafford County families, comprised of 854 individuals, received 17,765 pounds of food from S.E.R.V.E., while their pets got 390 pounds of kibble, Stevens said.
The organization also provided financial assistance to 25 Stafford County families, so a total of 66 individuals received $2,230.01, she said.
“A family of 5-8 would be given approximately 80 pounds and a family of 9 or more about 100 pounds of food to last them a week,” she stated. “We also have some toiletries and supplies that can help them to stretch their income.”
In August, they helped 43 new clients, families that had never asked for food assistance, said Stevens.
Also in August, 41 of 54 clients who got financial assistance were new to S.E.R.V.E.
“We have a lot of families in need surrounding us at all times,” Stevens said.
The organization, which got its start in 1979, now has four paid employees and 28 volunteers who work out of a converted home at 15 Upton Lane.
But they need to expand their current facility to accommodate the growing need for food and funds, Stevens said. They got $60,000 from Dave and Nancy Honeywell’s foundation for the annex to the pantry.
“The generosity of these people is just amazing,” said Stevens. “We have no words to express our appreciation.”
Mt. Ararat church in North Stafford donated $27,000 on May 19 to the building fund.
“But we had to purchase $14,031.23 worth of food that we didn’t have,” Stevens said, “in order to provide for our clients’ emergency food needs.”
The need for funds continues and S.E.R.V.E. is holding a golf tournament at The Gauntlet Golf Club on Oct. 4.
“Emergency situations stay around these days, they happen when a job is lost, benefits get cut, or a mother and her children are abandoned,” Stevens said. “Life happens.”
NS-FM is proud to sponsor the Stafford Rockets football team in the Stafford County Parks & Rec football league’s Intermediate Division. The market’s contribution helped purchase uniforms and equipment, ultimately lowering the overall cost to each player’s family. The Rocket’s opening game is this Saturday, September 7th at McDuff Green Park at 12:30pm. Please come out and show your support!
Here is a list of the Rocket’s entire schedule:
-Saturday, 9/07/13 at McDuff Green Park at 12:30pm
Rockets vs Redskins
-Saturday, 9/21/13 at Patawomeck Park at 12:30pm
Rockets vs Panthers
-Tuesday, 9/24/13 at Patawomeck Park at 8:00pm
Rockets vs Steelers
-Saturday, 9/28/13 at Patawomeck Park at 9:30am
Rockets vs Wolfpack
-Saturday, 10/12/13 at Smith Lake Park at 11:00am
Rockets vs Wolfpack
-Saturday, 10/19/13 at McDuff Green Park at 2:00pm
Rockets vs Panthers
-Saturday, 10/26/13 at Patawomeck Park at 9:30am
Rockets vs Steelers
The Lions District 24-A Mobile Sight & Hearing Van will visit the North Stafford Farmers Market on September 8, 2013 from 8AM – 2PM. Each van is equipped and supplied so that the Lions of District 24-A can conduct free sight, glaucoma, hearing, and blood pressure screenings. Members of the Stafford County Lions Club will be on hand to assist with the screenings. All are welcome and there is no charge. Please come out and take advantage of this opportunity to head off problems with blood pressure, hearing and sight!
Date: September 8, 2013
Time: 8AM – 2PM
Location: North Stafford Farmers Market
125 Hospital Center Blvd. Stafford, VA 22554
NS-FM welcomes Stafford’s Volunteer Fire Department on Sunday, August 11th! Firefighters from Station 2 will bring their fire truck for the kids from 11am-1pm, so make sure that you bring the entire family. Please come support them and their time, while you’re at the market picking up your fresh produce for the week.
We’re very excited and can’t wait to see you there!
NS-FM will be implementing a couple changes this Sunday. We conducted a mid-season analysis of the market’s layout and decided to bring the vendors on the far end to a more centralized location. It’s important to us that we maintain an open atmosphere, with enough space for customers to easily transit from one end to the other, however we will be condensing slightly to help highlight some of our fantastic vendors that sometimes get missed, as well as make the market more manageable for our customers who have difficulties walking longer distances. Please come support our vendors as they adjust to their new location to offer you their fresh products at a higher convenience.
Again, thank you for helping to get the word out to your friends and family! We’re growing steadily, but need your help to make the farmers market a success.
We’ll see you this Sunday!
NS-FM is pleased to announce that it will be giving back to the Stafford County School District through the “Stuff the Bus” campaign. Every Sunday through August 23rd, the farmers market will be collecting desperately needed school supplies for underprivileged children. Each fall, thousands of children start the school year without basic school supplies. Please help contribute to this great cause, and drop off any of the supplies listed below at the Market Manager tent when you make your weekly trip to the farmers market. Thank you for donating to this great cause, and we look forward to seeing you this Sunday!
WHAT TO DONATE:
- No. 2 Pencils
- 3-Hole Pencil Pouches
- 3-Ring Binders
- Antibacterial Hand Sanitizer
- Book Covers
- Colored Pencils
- Composition Notebooks
- D’Nealian Tablets
- Drafting Kits
- Dry Erase Markers/Erasers
- Glue Sticks
- Index Cards
- Loose Leaf, 3-Hole Paper
- Pencil Sharpeners
- Pens – black, blue and red
- Plastic Storage Bags
- Pocketed Folders
- Post-it Notes
- Rulers (12-inch)
- Safety Scissors
- Single Subject Spiral Notebooks
- Tabbed Dividers
- USB Flash Drives
- Washable, Classic Color Markers
Can’t make it to NS-FM on Sundays? Here is a list of other drop-off points that support the Stuff the Bus initiative.